Despite an extremely challenging economy, the global concert business managed to put solid numbers in 2009, a testament to both the resiliency of the business and the enduring popularity of live music.

Global data reported to Billboard Boxscore from Dec. 6, 2008, through Nov. 21, 2009 shows an industry that is up significantly at its best and flat at worst. Worldwide, a record $4.4 billion in box office revenues were reported to Boxscore, an 11.7% increase over last year and the second consecutive year of double-digit growth. Attendance of 73 million represents a 12.6% increase over 2008, an important trend for a sector of the business that is now considered the most important for the majority of artists.

For North America, the news isn't as positive, but still far from the downer many forecasted. The $2.8 billion in box office is down 2% and the 50 million in paid attendance is down less 1.7%, but these numbers were generated from a 9% decrease in the number of shows reported.

A more positive indicator is a show-by-show analysis of the year. Worldwide, average gross and attendance per show are up 11.3% and 11.8%, respectively. In North America, average per-show gross and attendance are up 7.6% and 8%, respectively.

Live Nation, the world's largest promoter, had a strong year in terms of gross and attendance, based on Boxscore reports. The promoter reported $2.5 billion in gross and 41 million in attendance from 9,085 shows this year. Even with an aggressive discounting strategy, that is a 25% increase in gross and a 19% increase in attendance, despite a 1.6% decrease in shows.

AEG Live, a distant second to Live Nation, reported $888 million from 2,531 shows, with 12.8 million attendance, compared to $1 billion gross, 14.5 million attendance 2,324 shows last year. That's 12% decrease in gross and a 9% increase in shows.

Even with the dip in numbers reported, "2009 was our touring units' most profitable year in our 10 year history," says AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips. "It was clearly a case of less being more."

Major indies also reported increases in gross box office reports, including Chicago's Jam Productions ($78 million in 2009 from $53 million in 2008), and Austin's C3 Presents ($60 million in 2009, $50 million last year). Also strong were international independents like Time 4 Fun in Sao Paulo, Brazil ($151 gross), and MCD in Dublin ($122 million), and Australia's Michael Coppel Presents ($103 million).

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